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In God We Trust License Plates?

Front Page

I know what you’re thinking. I wasn’t too interested in this link when I first saw it, but to tell you the truth, the plate design simply looks good. I’d seriously consider putting these on my car. If you are living in Indiana, go ahead and vote for your favorite.

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What do pastors get paid?

Front Page Leadership

The Southern Baptist convention does a study each year of church staff compensation based on a number of demographic factors. This year’s study is now online:

2006 SBC Compensation Study

They provide many different ways to view the study data. Choose customized report, enter your church information, and see how nice you treat your pastor compared to what other churches like you are doing.

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Dream Team Meeting

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Tonight we had a dream team gathering over at our place and though we had a much lower attendance than at other meetings, we still had a good time. Here’s the summary:


We sang Beautiful One and then You Are My All in All


Continuing our series on the early chapters of Acts, I discussed a few points from Acts 1:7-9:

  • Experience makes a witness.
  • Jesus told the disciples that they would be his witnesses.
  • But weren’t they already his witnesses? They had personally experienced Jesus’ life, his teaching, his death, and his resurrection. However, Jesus said they weren’t ready to be his witnesses. They wouldn’t be so until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • They might have had a head awareness of Jesus, but they wouldn’t know the power behind Jesus until they had received the Holy Spirit.

We can’t really be his witnesses without a personal awareness of His power through the Holy Spirit.

Planning — Camp

We have been planning a camping trip, but it turns out that our originally chosen date isn’t working out for people, so we have to push it back to the beginning of August.

Planning — Informational Meeting

The major upcoming event for Southside Church is our informational meeting.

  • We need to settle on a firm date in the last two weeks of August or the first week of September
  • One of our main goals for the evening is to Knock People’s Socks Off with quality throughout everything we do.

We need to get point people for each of these areas:

  • Promotion (flyers, invitations, postcards, press releases)
  • Location & Setup (McCutcheon, Banquet room, Ivy Tech) — Laura offered to point this.
  • Technology (projection, sound system, computer)
  • Music
  • Hospitality — Pamela offered to point this.
  • Children’s program
  • Signs & Handouts

Before we can make any progress on these areas, I need to get a date firmed up. To do that, I’m waiting on three things:

  • When Rich and Gary could be here.
  • When Doug and/or someone else could be our band.
  • When we could get a good location.

All in all, it was a good meeting especially because at the end of the planning time, we got the chance to share on a more personal level how we are feeling about our progress as a church. It was a good time for us.

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A New Evangelism Tract

Evangelism Front Page Lafayette Leadership Spiritual Health

No one came to last night’s Bible 101 study that I had scheduled at our house.

In light of that, I’ve determined to not focus on programs that aim to “get people to come” and instead, focus on meeting people one-to-one to key in on evangelism and discipleship. In light of that, I’ve decided to put some time into producing a new evangelistic tract.

I’ll go ahead and post the content here, so you can comment if you wish.

Here is my initial design goal for the project:

  • GOD is real (and everything you have heard about him–well, almost everything–is true.)

    • he is perfect
    • he is good
    • he is loving
  • YOU are important (but most of what you believe about yourself isn’t true.)

    • you are loved
    • you have a purpose
    • you are wounded
    • you are distant
  • JESUS died for you

    • Jesus is real
    • Jesus is perfect
    • Jesus is alive — many convincing proofs (acts 1, 1 cor 11? 15?)
    • Jesus is King
  • GOD restores

    • to wholeness
    • to relationship
    • to your purpose
    • to your future

God’s work in your life looks like this…

  • Awareness of emptiness
  • Pursuit of fulfillment
  • Recognition of God
  • Acceptance of His Will
  • Surrender to Love
  • Living in Love

If you want to follow this project, be sure to subscribe to my new evangelism category.

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Annual Meetings Update

Front Page

We have safely made it to St. Paul, Minnesota, and my daughter is so excited to be in Minnesota even though she has no real clue what it is.

We were sitting in the restaurant tonight, and she piped up, “We’re in Minnesota! It’s a restaurant.” Perhaps that’s one way to look at the state that is home to 10,000 lakes for outdoorsmen and the Mall of America for indoor people, but I don’t think she really gets it yet.

Anyway, we will be heading out to the Mall of America tomorrow, and I hope to get a chance to post on that a bit tomorrow evening.

We are staying in a dormitory at Bethel University, and it’s kinda strange to be here with my family in a college dorm room! Especially, we splurged for a room with air conditioning, and ended up with a suite that is designed for 7 college boys! I’ll have to post some video soon.

Breakfast is at 8am tomorrow, so I really should be getting in bed. Maybe I’ll write something tomorrow!

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We are back in Chicago

Front Page

Yesterday we left the comforts of home for the latest Mikels family roadtrip. I have a hard time calling it a road trip because we are only going to Minneapolis from Lafayette which means we will only be about 9 hours away from home. Can that really be a road trip?

Anyway, our trip has three purposes:

Staying with the Martins

Dan and Mary Martin have graciously opened their home to us for last night and tonight. I’m typing this on their wireless connection (I helped them set it up about a year ago, and I’m glad that it’s still working!)

Dan is an amazing servant. I can’t ever get him to stop offering to do stuff for me. He is so generous and so caring that I often have to just tell him, “Dan, you have already done way more than is enough.” Mary is also a great encouragement. She can’t ever say enough good things to Jen and me. She’s a walking compliment machine for us and our ministry. It’s so amazing to have friends like them. (Thanks, Dan and Mary!)

Presentation at Faith

Our presentation went pretty well even though I went way too long during the first service. I chopped some stuff out in between services and was much more reasonable for the second service. Faith does a great job of videotaping their messages, so I should be getting a DVD in a week or so, and I’ll post my presentation here or at our church website >> as soon as I get that.

Annual Meetings

We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning to head out to Minneapolis. We’ll be staying in a glorious Bethel University dormitory. (I hope they fixed the window from the last time I was there. Ask me to tell you about that one sometime!)

The meeting promises to be of major importance for the entire denomination, so stay tuned by email, web, or RSS, and I’ll keep you posted on the goings on.

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I’m an Enthusiast

Front Page Leadership My Spiritual Life Personal Spiritual Health

According to the “Enneagram,” I am an Enthusiast. Here are some quotes from the website:

  • The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered
  • Easily become accomplished achievers, generalists who do many different things well: multi-talented. Practical, productive, usually prolific, cross-fertilizing areas of interest.
  • How to motivate me. Sevens want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.
  • People like me: John F. Kennedy, Benjamin Franklin, Leonard Bernstein, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Taylor, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Steven Spielberg, Federico Fellini, Richard Feynman, Timothy Leary, Robin Williams, Jim Carey, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Bette Midler, Chuck Berry, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Gianni Versace, Liza Minelli, Joan Collins, Malcolm Forbes, Noel Coward, Sarah Ferguson, Larry King, Joan Rivers, Regis Philbin, Howard Stern, John Belushi, and “Auntie Mame” (Mame).
  • My Tendencies: When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), scattered Sevens suddenly become perfectionistic and critical at One. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration (growth), gluttonous, scattered Sevens become more focused and fascinated by life, like healthy Fives.


Since the original time I wrote this post, I have come to believe that the Enneagram has little merit to it. As I read about my type, I see many things in it that sound like me, but at the same time, I see a lot that can generically apply to most people. In other words, if a tool like this helps you communicate yourself to me, it’s valuable to that extent, but I don’t see tools like this as having much predictive power.

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Log for June 5, 2006

Front Page

Update from Last Week

  • New Contacts Made (Liz, Heath, Ryan, Andrea) — 4
  • Face to Face Meetings
  • Events

    • Tuesday Study with one family
    • Wednesday Bible 101 launch
    • Thurs. hosted open mic night at coffeehouse
    • Fri watched kids for friends
    • Sat. hosted BBQ for soccer team
    • Sun. hosted Vision gathering (meal, communion, and discussed Acts 2:42ff).

Today’s work

  • Met with Ron about office space.

    • We can lease 1200 square feet next to Bar Barry Liquors for $12 / sq ft per year with a 5 year lease (and the rights to sublet).
    • We can lease however much we want for about $11 etc. in the Sycamore Village.
    • We can purchase an end unit in the Sycamore Village of whatever size we want for $135 / sq ft (includes a $41 build-out credit, so we could offer $90 or so and do our own build-out). This end unit would provide a place to have street-visible signage.
  • Meet with Pam to conclude Christianity 101 session 4
  • Update family finances
  • Write checks
  • Called Doug to set up meeting sometime (waiting for call back)

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We’re not competing with other churches.

Church Planting Front Page Lafayette Leadership

One of the truths about church planting is this:

We aren’t competing with other churches. We are competing with all the unspiritual ways people spend their time.

But sometimes it’s hard to really believe it.

This last weekend, Jen and I found on our door a flyer that seems to be for a new church getting started in the same area as we are. Here’s the flyer:

Wea Bible Church flyer side 1Wea Bible Church flyer side 2

Basically, they are running a Vacation Bible School down here (really close to our house) and they are asking people if they are interested in joining a Bible Study. As far as I can tell, they haven’t started any meetings yet.

I’m a competitive person by nature, and it’s hard for me not to feel competitive at this. In fact, there are some things they are doing that I think are missing the boat when it comes to church planting, but I don’t want to turn this into a rant against them.

In fact, I want to see if there is some way that “Wea Bible Church” and “southside church” can join forces and work together to reach the people here for Jesus. There might be some good opportunities for cooperation because Wea Bible Church doesn’t actually have a church plant pastor. Rather, it is currently being run as a ministry of Battleground Bible Church.

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Log for June 1, 2006

Front Page

What I did today:

  • Met with Tom for lunch and talked through the Bible 101 lesson 1 as well as a ton of other stuff. The dude just won’t let me pay for meals!
  • Mowed the Lawn!
  • Did the MC thing for the coffeehouse and played a couple tunes myself (Still Know How to Groove by Everybodyduck, and This World by Caedmon’s Call).
  • Met a new person who is interested in learning more about us.
  • Met Popple a band whom, if they weren’t Catholic and deeply involved in youth ministry already, I would try to recruit to create/run our youth program. Cool guys.

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Popple Rocks

Downloads Front Page Lafayette Podcasts

It’s late at night and my wife is asleep on the couch, but I just have to post this before I go to bed. Tonight at the Skylight Coffeehouse in Lafayette, I went to the open mic night as I usually do on Thursdays. Tonight, however, I was actually hosting, and I performed a little bit myself, but we were graced at the end with an act that was just so cool.

The band is called POPPLE, and you have to visit their websites:

You need to watch some of those videos and then come back here to leave a comment.

(Oh, and they are actually doing their music as a Christian Ministry.)

I hope they don’t mind my posting of this rip. (The live version was better.)

Contra by Popple

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Log for May 31, 2006

Front Page

Jen and I just got back on Monday from our conference up in Green Lake.

Yesterday was spent catching up with email, performing security upgrades to church websites, making some phone call reminders of Bible 101, and meeting two fellows who came to set up our Air Conditioner (it was hot!).


  • Called people all day long reminding them about our Bible 101 class tonight.
  • Ran Bible 101 tonight

    • Bonnie (Taylor & Michaela), Kyle, Ashley, Greg (to observe me teaching), Jen & me.

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What’s Wrong with Me? — Follow-up

Front Page My Spiritual Life

I just thought I’d write a follow-up to my previous blog…

The church consultant had just a few things to tell me:

  1. The problems at NWBC were there long before I ever came, and in no way did I cause them.
  2. My leadership was such that many of the problems that were “under the table” were brought to the surface.
  3. There is nothing that I or anyone else could have done to turn the church around without the drastic process of a complete restart.

He told me that he had clearly communicated these three points to the leadership team of NWBC as well as the Executive Director of the Midwest Baptist Conference.

Therefore, the concerns he had about me were in no way related to the results at NWBC, and that alleviated my fears quite a bit.

He told me that he had done 40 interviews, and one theme came up in about 15 of those interviews while another theme came up in just about all of them.

Some people had mentioned that I wasn’t willing to do any visitation or personal pastoral care. Along with this, some gave specifics of why they perceived me to be insensitive in some way or another. I had failed to make personal face-to-face contact with them in response to certain events in their lives that I would have known about from prayer requests printed in the bulletin.

The consultant and I talked about that for a bit, and he basically told me that making personal face-to-face contact is a necessity for demonstrating to people that you care. I’m cool with that.

The second theme was that nearly everyone said something like I was stubborn or unwilling to change my mind. On that point, the consultant told me that he wasn’t really sure where it was coming from, and he didn’t even have any specifics to tell me. We talked about it a bit, and my own conclusion is that I am very firm on certain principles, and that can be perceived as a general stubbornness if there isn’t the personal connection with people to help them feel comfortable enough to really talk with me about challenging issues.

The bottom line is that I need to

  • Make an extra effort to build relationships through being physically present with people rather than relying on phone calls, emails, letters, or even church programs.
  • Make an effort to draw closer to people who are my antagonists rather than pulling away from them. If I withdraw from them, they will find other (more damaging) outlets for their frustration.
  • Initiate opportunities for me to listen to others so that they begin to see that I really am open to talking about things and even to hear them challenge me on issues. I need to initiate those discussions to establish that the open door really is open to them.

I can do those things.

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